Bend, Oregon: Well we picked a fantastic time to head to Bend, Oregon, right in the middle of the July PNW heat wave. Record temps of up to 115 were forecasted in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Bend was only supposed to get to 108. As we left California, we drove all the way to Klamath Falls because we needed better internet, and the small town of Mt. Shasta wasn’t going to cut it....
We came back to Denver for part of May to scout for and shoot a commercial for Sena Technologies, and then stayed to see family for a few days.
While in Denver, we took the camper off of the truck, TWICE in a week. Which seems like more than we normally take it off in a year. We hadn’t even taken the camper off since we’d installed the dually adapters in February, and the dually tires definitely make it more difficult to line the camper up to take it on and off. It gives us about an inch of clearance on each side to drive out from underneath the jacks. First we took the camper off at my parents house so that we could take the truck in to get the ebrake fixed. We’d had the ebrake fixed a few months ago but they didn’t install a long enough brake line, so we had been waiting to take the truck back in next time we were in Colorado. Then we planned to take the whole rig up to Blake’s brothers house in Conifer where we were home basing for our film shoot. On most of our shoots where we do car to car tracking shots, we’ll use a client provided vehicle, but this time we were planning to use our own truck, so we needed to take the camper off. So we did the whole thing again. My parents’ house has a pretty flat pad that makes it easy, but Clinton’s land is sloped so it makes it even more difficult. The flatbed makes us so tall that we have to put about 4-6 inches of wood or cinderblocks underneath each jack just to lift the camper high enough to drive out from under. With the dually tires, we have to make sure that the wood or cinder blocks are as far to the outside as possible so the tires don’t have to go up and over the block, or rub along the side of the block. It was a tricky process and we didn’t do a good job of it the first time. Hopefully we wont be taking the camper off anytime soon again. Luckily we left our dirt bike rail carrier and bikes with our friends in Mesa or else you have to take that off first too to get the camper off and that would’ve been even more a pain in the ass.
Of course we ordered a ton of packages to our families, taking advantage of having an address to get a few things warrantied and sent there. We have lots of stuff still stored at my parents in my old bedroom, and we owed them a clean up of some stuff. (Mostly clothes and outdoor gear that didn’t come in the camper with us, and an entertainment center). We had so many clothes in my old closet that the closet bar actually broke. I made a huge goodwill pile. We also had to move our old van (if you don’t know us, this is the $600 Chevy Venture that we’re so proud of) that we’d been storing on Clinton’s property for two years because he was threatening to saw it in half if it wasn’t gone by June 1st. My parents graciously let us put it in their third bay garage. We already had a bunch of junk loose in their 3rd bay, which we piled into the van, so it honestly probably looks better to them now to just have the car. Just because we live in a camper doesn’t mean we’re minimalists. The problem is we’ve gotten a lot of free things over the years (useful things, not just junk), that we don’t want to rebuy if we ever move into a house, and my parents have the space and don’t mind storing it… The van does come in handy when back in Denver so we don’t have to drive the truck around. Since all our vehicles are registered in South Dakota, I think it only cost us about $60 a year to keep the van registered, and we cancel the insurance on it until we need to use it again.
After getting everything done in Denver we headed back up to Grand Junction to work on our boat. Back in November 2020 we put our boat in storage at a warehouse in Grand Junction that a guy we know owned. We planned to keep it there until May, but the owner wanted to start using his space for marijuana production instead of storage, so we got a call to come get our boat out April 1st. Luckily our buddy Dan, who was also storing his boat there, was able to go pick up our boat by the deadline and bring it back to his place so that we didn’t have to race back to Colorado right when we got back from Hawaii in March. He had to get his boat out as well, so he ended up with two boats in his garage until we came back to Colorado in May. We attempted to pay Shannon for her garage bay for two months, but Dan actually engineered a way to winch the boat off the trailer and onto some pallets that he installed wheels under, and then rolled the boat to the section of garage between their bays, and it fit perfectly where Shannon could still park in her spot, and we could do some boat maintenance inside their heated garage.
In between all the Utah trips we did in April and May, we came back to Mesa, Colorado three times, to work on the boat and get a home base for a couple days. This included making a few tweaks to the braking and reverse system, cutting out more storage compartments in the gunnel, and re-wiring a couple things. Blake and Dan wanted to install an intelligent brake and reverse (IBR) system into our boat because we currently didn’t have the ability to reverse due to the old self tapper screws coming loose all the time on the previous design. Dan spent hours helping us with this to get it functioning, but when we went to put our boat in the water, the system wasn’t working like it did on the trailer. We spent quite a few days driving down to the boat ramp and pulling the boat in and out of the water on the trailer to try to figure out what was preventing the system from working once in the water. Dan had to spend some time on his own boat though too, and Blake and I had to head back down to Denver for a week for another film project, so the IBR system didn’t get completed. All of this was in preparation for the Memorial trip we had planned, where we would be camping off the boats for 4 days on the Colorado and Green River. In the days before the trip, we tried to isolate the issue, whether it’s the battery not allowing enough power, the cables getting bound up, or we even found a broken piece on the bucket and called 40 different dealers to find one in stock and have them overnight it. Even after all this, we had no luck and had to strap the bucket up for the entire trip. Little did we know that our issue with the bucket was the least of our problems for the Memorial Trip, because Dan’s boat blew a hole in his exhaust in the first ten minutes of the trip! More on that later.
We had to go to Southern California the first week of June for a film shoot, and the temperatures were already in the 90s. We normally try to avoid being in SoCal in the middle of the summer at all costs, but we also gotta pay to play, and we go where work calls.
This time leaving Colorado, we traded out the dual dirt bike rail carrier for the jetboat trailer, which would be coming with us for the summer. We plan to do a lot of jetboating up north this summer! Our bikes go on the tongue of the trailer, and we broke down the rail carrier into about 10 different pieces, which are all ratchet strapped to the sides and center of the boat trailer. We had planned to potentially leave the rail carrier with our friends in Grand Junction on their property, but they ended up having to move during the summer, so we had to take it with us. It’s a pain to break down and strap on to the trailer, but it’s good to have it with us in case we decide to store the boat for an extended period of time but still want the bikes with us. We’ve been actively looking for a box trailer for all the toys instead of the current boat trailer we have, and then we could store the rail carrier inside of it, but the market is just too hot for trailers right now and we couldn’t find anything local for a good price.
Anyway, we got everything hooked up and loaded and made the drive from Grand Junction to Big Bear. Of course half way through our drive our friends send us a picture of everything we forgot at their house (we’ve been home based there on and off throughout April and May), including our entire wrench set, a fork, some croakies, and a pair of Blake’s boxers! LOL Oh well, they’ll have to take all that to their new house with them and get it from them later.
We parked at one of the casinos outside of Vegas to sleep for the night and it was wayyy too hot. We had to have all the windows open even though we could hear all the semi trucks idling. It was a rough night of sleep, but we got up early to continue the drive and made it to Big Bear mid morning. That weekend we were filming at the WLF Enduro Mission 4 Event which brings veterans out for a day of dirt bike riding in Big Bear. The vets get brand new gear, get to demo Husky bikes and get to enjoy the weekend with good food and games. We filmed the event but also got to hear stories from the veterans and show our appreciation for them, especially since this was the weekend after Memorial Weekend.
This event was held at a really neat venue in Fawnskin, CA, which is on the north shore of Big Bear Lake. The venue was a 5 cabin resort recently purchased and renovated by a group of 5 friends that are also dirt bike and motorsport enthusiasts. Two of the owners are Jolene and Billy Van Vugt, who were Nitro Circus athletes. As part of the service with their venue, they offer to help organize, cater, and run the event as well. It’s a really fun venue for any kind of retreat or small event and close to all the trails in Big Bear. They have string lights out on all the cabins, and a fire pit for everyone to hang out at. Ironically, we had another shoot coming up in Big Bear two weeks later with KC Hilites, and we were so impressed with the venue and their hard work that we told KC about it and they decided to book a couple of the cabins for us to stay in again the following weekend. Jolene is actually an ambassador for KC Hilites, so it worked out perfectly to stay there and support their new business, and she joined our film shoot.
Even though we had that other film shoot in Big Bear coming up, it was just too hot to stay in SoCal in our camper without killing each other, so we decided to make the drive to Northern California, and we would fly back to LA for our next gig.